In today’s fast, busy, and technologically-driven society, it’s all about quick, fast, and hard data. We are no longer a patient society. We want information, we want it fast, and we want it in our faces. Some blame technology for our dependence and need for fast data and our impatience. Regardless of the reason, we now live and operate in a society that is continuously developing methods to gather and present data in the quickest and most straightforward method possible.
So when we talk about a business metrics dashboard. What do we mean? How does this pertain to project managers and small business?
Business metrics can include:
- Sales data (daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.)
- Project completion status
- Top project risks and/or issues
- Project milestones timeline
- Schedule of tasks, their deadlines, and estimated completion dates
- Project costs, time, and materials
- Percentage of growth
Basically, any type of data that a project manager or small business owner wants to show or needs to follow on a regular basis is an example of a business metric.
Now, that we understand a little bit better of what business metrics are, we can talk about how to present this data in a clear and organized form. So how do we do this? What is the most effective way to combine and condense all the data we need to see and review for a project all on one screen? This can certainly be challenging. A project team can start by designing, sketching or creating a draft of what they want and how they want their dashboard to look like.
Here are some tips on what to consider when drafting your business metrics dashboard:
- Choose an attractive color scheme and font style so it is aesthetically pleasing
- Provide as much description in context as possible
- Avoid clutter and “junk”, such as images, widgets, and other unimportant media
- Dashboards should be as clear as possible
- Arrange and organize data efficiently
- Dashboards should represent both project efficiencies and inefficiencies
- Communicate data effectively
- Share data effectively
These are just some ways to represent data and create an effective, attractive, and organized visual display of project information and data. Depending on the purpose for creating the dashboard, whether you are a project manager studying the schedule of tasks, project milestones, phases, and other project-related specs and information or a CFO managing and monitoring all sales, revenue, and other financial information, or a small business owner who needs to moderate all business facets including finances, projects, sales and organizational goals, and percentage of growth, you can tailor the dashboard design to include the necessary metrics needed for your particular area of the business.
So what can we gather from studying a business metrics dashboard? Business metrics should help organize and streamline data. But why? What do small businesses and project managers gain by having data all on one screen, other than convenience and making it look pretty? Business metrics dashboards can help and assist with decision-making. Ultimately it should provide business owners and project managers with the power to deliver the right decision and support at the right time.